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Pearl Ex dry pigment powder and encaustic

Pearl Ex Pigment Powder and Encaustic

Disclosure: Jacquard sent me a free sample of Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments to review for this post.

I have shied away from using dry pigment powders since Gregory Wright’s patterned effects demonstration at the International Encaustic conference. Gregory cautioned that some dry pigments may be poisonous and that repeated exposure can have serious effects on the artist’s health.

What is Pearl Ex Mica Powder?

Then, I noticed online that Linda Robertson was using Pearl Ex Powdered Pigment with Encaustic.  Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments are very fine powdered mica pigments made by Jacquard Products. From the Jacquard website, “Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments are safe, non-toxic, inert pigment that may be used any time a metallic or pearlescent effect is desired.”

Safety Precautions when using dry pigment

Even though Pearl Ex is listed as safe and non-toxic, it is still wise to handle them with care. The number one rule of working with dry pigment is to avoid raising the pigment dust unnecessarily.

Precautions for safe handling of Pearl Ex Pigment Powder:

Safety Data Sheets for Pearl Ex are available from Jacquard’s site. From here I found the following precautions.

  • Prevent formation of dust
  • Inhalation of the dusts should be avoided as even inert dusts may impair respiratory organ functions
  • Respiratory protection is required when dusts are generated. Recommended Filter type: Filter P 1
  • Do not eat, drink, smoke or sniff while working.
  • Wash hands before breaks and at the end of work.
  • Body protection: Protective work clothing

I noted that Linda Robertson uses particle masks and gloves for her dry pigment encaustic workshop.

4 Ways to use dry pigment with Encaustic

  1. add Pearl Ex to clear encaustic medium as a colouring agent
  2. combine Pearl Ex with shellac for a shellac burn technique
  3. use a small brush or sponge to apply Pearl Ex to your encaustic painting, gently fuse
  4. apply Pearl Ex with a soft applicator through a stencil to the warm wax, gently fuse

How have you used dry pigment in Encaustic art?

Please share your thoughts about using Pearl Ex dry pigment mica powders in your art.

About Ruth Maude

I enjoy experimenting with a variety of encaustic materials, techniques and tools. Everything I learn pushes my creative journey in new directions. I share what I've learned with other artists through my blog All Things Encaustic.

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11 thoughts on “Pearl Ex Pigment Powder and Encaustic”

  1. Hi! I have a question about mixing metallic pigments with the base. I currently using a castor/beeswax base (8:1). Are metallics prone to separating in this mixture? I have had issues with metallics separating from other types of wax mixtures. I am curious if anyone has tried this with success. Any tips on reducing the possibility of pigment separation would be great!

  2. Would it be more safe to combine all of the powder to wax at once and pour into a chip mold and use as needed? Just so you only need to deal with powdered pigments once?

  3. Help !! I currently am living in central Texas. .we moved here about a year ago. Many things were stolen on that journey. My art supplies especially.I really miss my Pearl ex. I can’t find anyplace that sells it I have been to hobby lobby and Michaels. People at Michaels had never heard of it. Any ideas,
    Anybody ? Thanks. Marion

  4. I use those powders to highlight the texture of my paintings. They go on last and really pop the final product. I felt kind of snobby about them at first, thinking they were “crafty”. Don’t judge a product by its’ cover. Ha. I love them now.

  5. On one of my first projects I embedded a leaf and thought it would be interesting to use a little gold pearl ex on top. I learned that once it is on, it is not coming off…and a little goes a long way. It’s good to know that we need to be extra cautious when using powder. Thanks for this information.

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